Ooooooklahoma!...where Medicaid expansion might come sweeping down the plain...

As I noted back in February, this one was pretty unexpected:

Bill expanding ‘Insure Oklahoma’ program passes Senate committee

A Senate bill seeking to expand the Insure Oklahoma program has advanced out of committee Monday morning.

Senate Bill 605, authored by Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, directs the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority to implement "the Oklahoma Plan" within Insure Oklahoma. An agency spokesperson said the program provides premium assistance to low-income working adults employed by small businesses.

The latest numbers from Insure Oklahoma show less than 19,000 are enrolled.

According to McCortney, the intent of his bill is to provide insurance for Oklahomans who would qualify for Medicaid in states which opted to expand but are currently not insured.

"If they have private insurance, we’ll have 200,000 people who now can go to the doctor instead of go to the emergency to get free care. They’re going to be going to the doctor’s office getting the care they need when they need it instead of waiting for an emergency room visit," McCortney told News 4. "The Oklahoma Plan, what it is, is being able to use private insurance to take care of and manage the healthcare costs for our population so, instead of asking the state agency to do that, and state agencies traditionally don’t do that, well, we’re going to go out to the private market and let private companies do that."

The proposed measure unanimously passed the Senate Retirement and Insurance committee by a 9 to 0 vote, though it did not come without questions.

I noted at the time that this sounds more along the lines of the "Private Option" which is/was used in a few other states like Arkansas and New Hampshire, in which ACA Medicaid expansion funding is instead used to pay the premiums/deductibles for private ACA exchange policies instead.This makes far less financial sense then actual Medicaid, but whatever; it's Oklahoma, I'll take what I can get.

Cut to this morning:

Great news from Oklahoma. Their Supreme Court upheld the ballot initiative to expand #Medicaid. Now on the signature collection!

— Jonathan Schleifer (@Jonathanchad) June 18, 2019

This just in...The Oklahoma Supreme Court found in our favor today!!! The Court’s decision clears the way for Oklahomans to begin collecting signatures later this summer to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot. #ExpandMedicaidOK

— Oklahomans Decide Healthcare (@OKdecides) June 18, 2019

via Oklahomans Decide Healthcare:

Oklahoma Supreme Court Gives Medicaid Expansion State Question Green Light to Move Forward

Release Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

For More Information: Amber England, 405-334-7919 or

Court’s decision clears the way for Oklahomans to begin collecting signatures later this summer to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by Medicaid expansion opponents to block voters from having a say on healthcare in the next election. The ruling came just hours after oral arguments concluded today.

“Our mantra has been that Oklahoma voters should get the chance to decide what’s best when it comes to our healthcare, and today, the Oklahoma Supreme court agreed with us,” said Amber England, a spokesperson for Oklahomans Decide Healthcare.

The decision provides a boost to the coalition of Oklahoma doctors, nurses, patients, business executives, non-profit organizations, healthcare advocates and hospitals, which officially announced the launch of Oklahomans Decide Healthcare last week.

“It’s been an incredible week,” Patti Davis, President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association said. “We are pleased by such a swift decision from the Supreme Court, and we are going to utilize every bit of this momentum to help deliver affordable healthcare to nearly 200,000 Oklahomans and to help save our rural hospitals.”

If approved by voters, State Question 802 would bring more than a billion dollars back to Oklahoma every year from Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid, save our rural hospitals, create thousands of jobs, and boost the state’s economy.

Under expansion, Medicaid is available to those making less than 133% of the federal poverty level, which is about $17,000 a year for an individual or $28,000 for a family of three. Thirty-six states have already expanded Medicaid, and billions of tax dollars are already going to those states. Last year, voters in Utah, Nebraska, and Idaho all approved Medicaid expansion.

Oklahomans can get involved and learn more at